Monday, September 28, 2009

I have the best friends!

I've gotten three packages in the past three "mail days" from my friends! These are friends I've never even met...yet, but I feel like we're family. BunkerBabes rock!
I got this from Andrea: six skeins of "Otto", a wonderfully soft merino wool, and two books of patterns! I plan on making a lace cardigan out of the yarn, and I can't wait to try out some of the patterns in the books! Thank you, Andrea!
I got this from Dawn. She sent six skeins of "Spa", a bamboo/acrylic blend. It is soooo silky! I'm going to use it for Christmas gifts for my girls. She also sent a magazine filled with baking recipes! I love to bake, and I intend to try out almost all of the recipes. ☺ We're going to have some bake-alongs; me in Texas and her in Florida. Thank you, Dawn!

And this package is from Christine. I participated in a coaster/warm beverage swap, and she's the one who got my name. She sent me two kinds of loose-leaf tea(they smell wonderful, and I'll be trying them out tonight), and a tea ball. Some dark chocolate from Ghirardelli...YUM! And a lovely cabled mug cozy and a felted coaster, both in my favorite color: burgundy! And the patterns for the coaster and cozy, and one for a lacy shawl called "Peacock Plumes"; it was one I had looked at recently, but hadn't printed yet. And, to top it all off, a book of "Portals of Prayer"! ☺ Thank you, Christine!

My friends are awesome! I love you all, BunkerBabes! You have cheered me up immensely! And this swapping thing is fun! ☺

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forced Frugality.

On Monday morning, my husband called me on his way home from work. He'd been laid off. I was on the way to Walmart, to get pictures taken. I decided to wait, as it didn't need to be done that day. Now, while Hubby occupies his time searching for a new job, I brainstorm ideas for saving money. Fortunately, Hubby did have the foresight to save up a bunch of money, but since we don't know how long he'll be without income, we want to make it last.
Friday night is our pizza picnic night; we eat pizza in the family room and watch a movie. Usually, the pizza is Digiorno, since ordering pizza is crazy-expensive these days. In an effort to be even more frugal, this afternoon, I made pizza crust dough in the bread machine, and the kids helped me put on the toppings. It was a little funky-looking, but it tasted really yummy! We borrowed a movie from the library (FREE) rather than renting it from Blockbuster.
I baked bread the other day, and it was really yummy, even though I baked it a little too long. I'm planning on doing a lot more baking, rather than buying cookies and treats like that. More fun for the kids (more work for me, but that's okay) and yummier, more nutritious snacks for all of us.
At the thrift shop today, I found the boxed set of the original Star Wars trilogy, and snagged that for a Christmas gift for the girls. Coincidentally, they like the movies with "Luke" better than the ones with "Anakin", so that'll work out well. I've done the shoulder decreases on Dolly's cape, now I just need to increase and knit the hood, and make some mitts to match; that'll take care of her Christmas gifts. I'm planning on handknitting and/or sewing all the Christmas gifts. Just because we're being frugal doesn't mean we can't still have a great Christmas.
Hubby canceled his gym membership, and we brought our Bowflex in from the garage. We bought it when they were first invented about 8 years ago, but we haven't used it much. We will now! Now I just need to get him some new innertubes for his bicycle, and he can use that for cardio workouts.
I'm going to weed through some of the clothes the kids don't need and see if any of them are nice enough to sell on ebay, to help bring in a little extra money. They tend to be pretty tough on clothes, so I'm not sure whether that'll help much.
These days, even if you are fortunate enough to have income, frugality is a good idea. So tell me your favorite frugal tips in the comment section below. ☺

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Introducing: my rejected pattern.

Well, I got the email today that the pattern I submitted to Knitty was not accepted. So I can finally post pictures here. I will, however, be reserving the pattern for my book. Anyway, this is "Julia Lynne". It's a top-down, seamless raglan cardigan with lace and ruffles.
And here are some pictures of my girls, in their cardigans.


And Angel

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am frustrated.

My hands have been hurting, a lot. I think I have tendonitis in my fingers. It's from too much knitting, but (of course) I still want to knit. Time is getting away from me. I have Christmas gifts and other things to knit. I want to knit, just for the serenity, the calmness, the joy it gives me. Yesterday I didn't knit a stitch. I did not like that, at all. My hands still hurt today. But I'll take at least the morning off, since it's library day anyway.

Another reason I'm frustrated is that people are having difficulties downloading my patterns from my pattern blog. I didn't consider the fact that not everybody is using Microsoft Windows Vista when I saved my patterns as "xps" files (whatever the heck that means). So some people are able to access the files (I assume they are Vista users) while others are not. I need to save the files as another file type and see if that makes them accessible. If you are one of the people having trouble accessing the files, please bear with me as I attempt to solve this problem. I'm just relieved at this point that the mistake was mine, and I don't need to find another file storage site. I apologize for my shortsightedness. I just wanted to let you know that I am, in fact, working on it.

Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on...or at least what I want to be working on...

It's a top-down in-the-round poncho for Princess. I've only spent one evening and one full day working on it (which is partly why my hands hurt so much) to get it to this point. It's very easy...I started with my new favorite cast-on: the tubular cast-on(I love it because it's much stretchier than the traditional long-tail cast-on...did about an inch of ribbing, then began increasing, just like I would for a raglan sweater, with basic rope cables between the increases. I haven't decided yet whether I will continue increasing, because if I do, this thing is going to be huge; it will be a square if I lay it flat. But then, Princess is a very active little girl, and I think she might need that extra space to be able to play as hard as she'd like. So at this point I'm undecided. Anybody want to offer an opinion on the issue?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

knit, knit, knit, knit, knit

I realized that I haven't posted since last Friday, so I figured I should post something. I've been busy...knitting, of course. Did you know there are only 100 knitting days until Christmas?!? My baby sister's Christmas present is finished and ready to be photographed...or it would have been ready if my kids had left it alone while it was blocking. I need to reblock it. I've got the first part of my second-youngest sister's present almost done. I'm making the same gift for all of my sisters, just in different colors. I've started on a poncho for Princess, but it isn't a Christmas gift. I'm planning to get it done before we go visit family in North Dakota next month. I'm knitting it in a bulky yarn (Bernat Alpaca blend) so it's going pretty quickly. I need to measure her and decide how long to make it. I've decided to make a hooded cape for Dolly, for Christmas, and some mitts to go with it (from the same pattern I designed for my other girls' mitts; just have to size it down to fit her) I think I might have enough blue worsted merino left over from a sweater project for that. I started a "banana bag" for my baby sister...haven't gotten very far with it, though. Sorry, no pics today...I'll get some taken soon.
Oh, I posted a new pattern (for a coaster) on my pattern blog, so go check that out... the link for my pattern blog is over there. ----------->

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

We're taking a day off from schoolwork today. I saw one flag flying at half-mast this morning...only one. I think I'll start patronizing Whataburger for that decision. Today is a day for remembering the approximately 3,000 people who died in the vicious terrorist attacks eight years ago. But why is it only today? We Americans said after 9/11/01 that we would "never forget". It seems like we have forgotten, most of the year.
Yes, today should be a day set aside for remembering, but we need to remember all year round. 19 evil men, taking their orders from another evil man, attacked us. They killed thousands of people. They made us afraid. We said afterward that if we live in fear, they win. American flags were everywhere. Patriotic music was on the radio 24/7. Americans pulled together as a nation. And we fought back. The Taliban, who supported Bin Laden in Afghanistan, fell. Saddam Hussein, whose government supported terrorism, fell.
But as time went by, the flags were put away. People began to doubt we were doing the right things. They forgot that we were attacked first. They forgot that America does not back down from a fight. On the anniversary each year, people say they will never forget. But some have.
I am still proud of our country...proud to be an American. And if that offends anyone, I don't care. The United States is the best country in the world. Even though a lot of things have "changed" and are "changing" in our country, it is still America (for the time being anyway). Let's remember those patriotic sentiments we expressed on September 12, 2001, and that we share today, all throughout the year. God bless the United States of America! And may He help us continue to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

busy, bein' creative.

I've been meaning to write, but I've been busy working on this...

"Double Eyelet Rib Socks" by Wendy Johnson
My first toe-up, sockweight, adult-sized sock. It's actually much further-along than this picture; I just haven't taken any other pictures. I'm using the left-over yarn from my Ichthus shawl.
Yesterday, I made this:

It was intended to be a coaster. I learned a couple things with this project...firstly, that variegated yarn isn't the best for a "log cabin quilt" block...and secondly, that this was too big to be a coaster. So I gave it to Angel to use as a face washcloth.
Then, last night, I made this:

It is a coaster. It's the right size, and I designed it myself. I thought it looked kinda like a flag; at least, that was the idea. Hubby thinks it looks like a bullseye. What do you think? Flag? Bullesye? Goofy-looking in-the-round striped square?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ichthus is DONE!

Presenting the completed Ichthus shawl! Here it is, pinned to my carpet, blocking...about 5 minutes before my youngest daughter grabbed it and tried to use it as a blankie. Said child got a severe talking-to (I had just told her not to touch it) and an extended naptime. I got it smoothed back out and pinned back down, and I'm hopeful that it will be dry by morning, so I can take a picture of myself wearing it.

Okay, the vital stats on this shawl...I used 3 1/2 183-yard (50 gram) skeins of fingering weight bamboo/silk/cotton blend yarn. It is 64 1/2 inches wide at the top, and 32 inches long down the centerline(blocked measurements). It's a little smaller than I thought it would be, but since I'm a fairly small person it fits me well. I'm very happy with how it turned out!
The lace pattern itself is fairly simple, but with the combination of the lace and the techniques, I'd call it an intermediate-advanced pattern. I still have quite a bit of work on my hands, turning my little chart and my almost-nonexistent notes into a marketable pattern.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Praising God, and dancing with joy!

Laura went home from the hospital on Sunday, and on Monday she got the pathology results....there are "NO RESIDUAL CANCER CELLS!" No cancer. Anywhere in her body. At all. When I read the news on her Facebook page, I was crying tears of joy. I am so happy for her, and so thankful to God. Every step of the way, she has experienced the "best case scenario"; almost no side effects of the chemo and radiation, better-than-expected tumor shrinkage, and now she is recovering well, with the knowledge that she no longer has cancer. Any time that I see what looks like a miracle, I believe that it is one. God used the doctors and the medicine to heal Laura. All glory to God!